Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

'No Indication' Saudi Coalition Reopening Yemen Ports

'No Indication' Saudi Coalition Reopening Yemen Ports

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen's Houthi movement said last week it had closed all air, land and seaports in Yemen to stem what it said was the flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran.

Saudi Arabia and its allies tightened a longstanding blockade of Yemen's land, sea and air borders a week ago in response to a missile fired by the Iran-backed Huthis that was intercepted near Riyadh worldwide airport. The missile was intercepted near the capital of the country.

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"The continued closure by the Saudi-led coalition of critical seaports and airports is aggravating an already dire humanitarian situation".

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UN Abdallah al-Mouallimi told reporters in NY on Monday that ports in government-controlled areas such as Aden, Mukalla and Mocha will be reopened.


The United Nations insisted its aid operations need access to the ports of Hodeida and Saleef, saying that more than two-thirds of the people in need and 80 percent of all cholera cases are closest to the two ports.

The UN's aid coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, said there was no time to wait for a new inspection system to be set up.

"The humanitarian impact of what is happening here right now is unimaginable", Mr. McGoldrick told reporters.

The ambassador also said the Houthi-controlled ports, including Hodeida, should remain closed and he called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to send a delegation to Riyadh to "review current procedures to enhance and deliver a more robust verification and inspection mechanism aimed at facilitating the flow of humanitarian and commercial shipments while preventing the smuggling of weapons, ammunition, missile parts and cash". He underscored that a United Nations verification and inspection mechanism is already in place and could work with the Saudi-led coalition on implementing strict procedure but Saudia has to open the port.

The north of the country, home to 78 per cent of the population, had 20 days' stocks of diesel, crucial for pumping water and fighting cholera, and 10 days' stocks of gasoline, with no prospect of resupply soon, he said.

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